TEEN TREE OF LIFE

The Grace of God - Part 1

June 19, 2022

 

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

Learning to trust God is vitally important at every point of your life and in every circumstance, but the need for it is more obvious in difficult times. Examples of people who trust God in the midst of trials and tribulations are often inspiring, but in order to trust God yourself you need to know why you can trust Him. For that reason, it’s important to know His Attributes.

 

God’s Attributes are perfect and eternal and include His Love, Justice, Righteousness, Veracity (Truthfulness), Eternal Life, Immutability (meaning that He is Unchanging), Sovereignty, Omniscience, Omnipresence, and Omnipotence. Knowing that God has these attributes, you can trust Him because of Who He is. You can trust Him because of His Character and Nature. All of His Attributes are only true about The Triune God – The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. No other beings possess them.

 

Our subject – God’s Grace – is closely tied to the fact that He is rich in Mercy. In fact, the Hebrew word hanan is translated as both mercy and as Grace. However, there are clear distinctions between the two concepts.

 

Let’s look briefly at His Mercy. There are three primary ways in which God demonstrates His Mercy. First is His General Goodness and Kindness in providing for everything in Creation – despite our being cursed as a result of Adam’s sin and despite the fact that we do not function according to His Original Design. PSA 145:9 (New American Standard Bible) describes all He does for us: The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.” 

 

The second primary way in which God demonstrates His Mercy is that He is patient and longsuffering in delaying the judgment that is already due in order to allow the sinner to turn to the Salvation offered through faith in Jesus Christ. God endures the wait for us to choose His Son (patient). His attitude of longsuffering is reflected in His Attitude in waiting. The apostle Peter put it this way in 2 PET 3:9 (New International Reader’s Version): The Lord is not slow to keep his promise. He is not slow in the way some people understand it. Instead, he is patient with you. He doesn’t want anyone to be destroyed. Instead, he wants all people to turn away from their sins.

 

Keep in mind that every human is a sinner who cannot meet God’s Standard of Righteousness on his own. The apostle Paul expressed it this way in ROM 2:10-12 (The Message Bible): There’s nobody living right, not even one, nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God. They’ve all taken the wrong turn; they’ve all wandered down blind alleys. No one’s living right; I can’t find a single one. Their throats are gaping graves, their tongues slick as mudslides. Every word they speak is tinged with poison. They open their mouths and pollute the air. They race for the honor of sinner-of-the-year, litter the land with heartbreak and ruin, Don’t know the first thing about living with others. They never give God the time of day. Wow!! That’s quite a piece of Scripture, isn’t it??

 

The third, and by far the greatest act of mercy, demonstrated by God, is Jesus being The Sin Sacrifice which pays the redemption price of man’s transgression against His Commands. God remains Holy and Just while still offering Forgiveness to those that believe in The Person and Work of The Lord Jesus Christ. TTS 3:5–7 (New International Reader’s Version) tells us: He saved us. It wasn’t because of the good things we had done. It was because of his mercy. He saved us by washing away our sins. We were born again. The Holy Spirit gave us new life. God poured out the Spirit on us freely. That’s because of what Jesus Christ our Savior has done. His Grace made us right with God. So now we have received the hope of eternal life as God’s children. Notice in this passage how Paul writes about the tie between Mercy and Grace. The Mercy poured out by God delays Judgment so that there is time for The Holy Spirit to do His Work of Regeneration and Renewal. Then God’s Grace grants Justification through faith in Jesus Christ so that we can receive the Hope of Eternal Life and are made heirs.

 

Now let’s look at Grace more closely, beginning with defining the concept of it, especially as it relates to God. We will also look at our need for Grace and then the manifold blessings that are extended to us by God’s Grace.

 

What is meant by the word, grace? Webster’s Collegiate dictionary has eight definitions for this English word and the Concise Oxford Dictionary has six. There is one Hebrew and one Greek word group translated as Grace, but these have a wide range of meaning and so are translated by many words including favor, kindness, pity, compassion, supplication, implore, gift, blessing, and thanks. Context will be important in determining the meaning in any usage.

 

Let’s look at the Hebrew word for grace which is hanan. According to “Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament,” the verb form “depicts a heartfelt response by someone who has something to give to one who has a need.” It describes it as “an action from a superior to an inferior who has no real claim for gracious treatment.” It is used in both social and secular contexts as well as theological ones. This is more in the sense of unearned favor and kindness than the relief from deserved punishment that is more prominent in mercy.

 

For example, look at GEN 33:5 (New International Reader’s Version) Jacob responds to Esau’s question about who all the people were, that were with him saying: Then Esau looked around and saw the women and children. “Who are these people with you?” he asked. Jacob answered, “They are the children God has so kindly given to me.” Jacob recognized his large family was an unearned blessing from God. This word is part of the Aaronic blessing in NUM 6:24-26 (The Message Bible): God bless you and keep you, God smile on you and gift you, God look you full in the face and make you prosper.

 

In many passages, the Hebrew word hanan includes concepts of mercy, yet it remains distinct. 2 KI 13:22-23 (The Message Bible) includes the use hanan in this way: Hazael king of Aram badgered and bedeviled Israel all through the reign of Jehoahaz. But God was gracious [hanan] and showed mercy to them. He stuck with them out of respect for his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He never gave up on them, never even considered discarding them, even to this day. Hazael king of Aram died. His son Ben-Hadad was the next king.

 

JOB 19:21 (The Message Bible) includes the use of the word hanan in Job’s plea for his friends to pity him because the hand of God had struck him: “Oh, friends, dear friends, take pity [hanan] on me. God has come down hard on me! Do you have to be hard on me, too? Don’t you ever tire of abusing me?” Esther uses it when she implored the king to avert the evil plot by Haman against her people: Then Esther spoke again to the king, fell at his feet, wept, and pleaded for his compassion [hanan] to avert the evil scheme of Haman the Agagite and his plot which he had devised against the Jews. (EST 8:3 New American Standard Bible)

 

The Hebrew word hanan occurs forty-one times in the Psalms as pleas to Yahweh to be gracious to the supplicant for various reasons including loneliness and affliction. It’s used in the sense of prayer in pleading to Yahweh for His favor.

{to be continued}

 

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